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When apartheid ended, the democratic government faced an enormous challenge to overcome the legacy of exclusion of most South Africans from access to basic services. Since 1994 thousands of classrooms and clinics have been built, teachers and health personnel hired. Public spending on education and health has increased and today a significant portion of the national income goes to these two crucial sectors. In less than a generation, SA achieved almost universal access to basic education and health services. This is something to be proud of. Yet the challenges remain. I read with sadness recently about 224 pupils at Upper Mvenyane Senior Primary School in the Eastern Cape whose school has leaking roofs, no toilets, no water, no library, no computers, no science lab - the list of problems is long. The situation has been known for years, yet nothing has been done. This is happening in the most developed African country and in the 21st century! What can children learn in these circumst...

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